"Notice if you've already given up before you've even tried."

A few days ago, I did a handstand.

The handstand itself is really nothing to write home about (much less, a blog post I suppose). It was against a wall, with a strap holding my arms in place, as padawan yogis like myself are taught in the early stages of learning yoga. But it was the very first time I did it just right. With hands planted firmly on the ground and one leg pointing straight up to act as a lever, I kicked my other foot lightly off the floor and both legs sailed smoothly up, with my heels coming to rest lightly against the wall (no banging!). On my first try. I was simultaneously shocked and elated as I stood there, my world literally turned upside down.

It had to do, I think, with something my teacher said before we started:

"Notice if you've already given up before you've even tried."

How often do we do this to ourselves? It's the most subtle form of self-sabotage—a habit so enticing, we often can't help but succumb. "I can't" is a nice, safe place to hide. If you don't try, you can't be disappointed. If you don't play, you can't lose—but you never get to taste the sweetness of winning either.

Sometime in the last few years, I flipped an inner switch and decided to lose the habit of saying "I can't", and it's changed my life immensely. "I can't camp" turned into "Sure, I'll try camping", and eventually, "Heck, we're already here. Why not hike up Angel's Landing and see what Zion looks like from up there, too?" "I can't run" became "I guess I can try a 10-K" and somehow unbelievably morphed into, "Holy crap, I just finished a marathon."

Once you get into the habit of saying yes, a whole world of possibilities opens up.

This world, of course, also includes the possibility of getting hurt, whether it's a bruised rib, a strained IT band, or a battered heart. Every so often, when it's pain that I encounter on the road I've chosen to walk on, I question if it's so wise to keep throwing myself in head first. Nobody goes through life looking to get hurt, after all. But every time, I've found that it's worse to not even try. I may have more bruises than I can count from falling from snowboards, surfboards, poles, and the occasional life obstacle. But I keep trying anyway. Eventually I either conquer what needed conquering and relish the sweet taste of victory, or find that despite my best efforts it's simply best to cut my losses and move on. Either way, there are no unanswered questions, no haunting "what-ifs."

At least, you tried. You can never really know the odds. But if you don't play, you'll never win.